***SPOILERS*** Food Wars – Azami Nakiri’s Failure to Dictate Happiness


Azami Nakiri came to Totsuki with one goal in mind: to reform the world of gourmet cooking and defining what it meant to create the perfect food dish. With the support of enough members of the Council of Ten Azami was able to become the head of Totsuki and began imposing his rule and order on the school. Those who aligned with Azami became known as Central. With the intent of suppressing any dissent Azami began disbanding organizations and those who didn’t agree with him or his philosophies regarding gourmet cooking. Consolidating power and spreading his message was part of his goal, using Totsuki as a tool to assist him in better achieving his reform of gourmet cooking. With the beginning of Azami’s tyrannical leadership of Totsuki, Soma and company began a rebellion against Azami to fight for their own way of cooking. But why bother creating Central? What was worth the effort of putting together a world of true gourmet? Was Azami evil or was he misguided in his efforts?

Azami explains that one of his reasons for creating Central was to prevent chefs from being swallowed up by the storm of gourmet cooking. Azami references Soma’s father Joichiro struggles. As a budding chef Joichiro lost his drive and motivation to continue his journey in the world of gourmet cooking. Azami uses Joichiro’s struggle as a flimsy defense of his actions for creating Central. Azami has a great deal of respect for Joichiro as both a peer and a mentor, as Azami was literally the unbeatable chef and crown jewel of his generation. While losing Joichiro  was a great tragedy that reason alone isn’t enough to reasonably convince anyone to create a Central and dictate what is the perfect dish in gourmet cooking. Joichiro’s personal decisions and reasons for not continuing on the path of a gourmet chef are not really Azami’s concerns.

Even after the victory of the rebel forces with Erina and Soma at the helm, Azami is still rather tight lipped about the reason for truly creating central. In the end he does say on his way out the door that he was doing everything for Erina. This might be the first time we get the honest reason from Azami why he created Central. While Erina is the clue as to why he created Central to begin with, saying that Erina was the reason for his actions explains far too little. We know yes that Erina would be the compass with her god tongue ability that would point the way to true gourmet and help Azami create the perfect dish. If that were the case then Erina would just be another tool for Azami, like Totsuki was a tool, to create a perfect dish. But then the statement Azami gave that Erina was the reason would be false given the facts we already know. Following that logic we would think Azami didn’t care for Erina and cared more about his perfect world of gourmet. There is something Azami isn’t telling us and we are missing key information.

What Azami is neglecting to tell the audience about Erina is that her god tongue ability will end up crushing her. It’s not until much later in the series we learn about the Erina’s mother and what happens to those who possess the god tongue. If Joichiro’s story in gourmet cooking is a tearjerker, then what happens to those who possess the god tongue will devastate the audience. The god tongue will end up causing Erina to lose appetite and be unable to eat any dish that is less than perfect, just like it did Erina’s mother and all possessors of the god tongue in the Nakiri family before them. Azami is keeping secrets from the audience and hiding his real motivations for creating Central. Azami is trying to create an organization that can keep Erina from falling into the same fate that befell her mother, dictating Erina’s personal happiness in the process.

Azami feels and believes that he has the moral high ground to dictate to others their happiness, it’s no wonder that his decision to create Central is trying to control both his daughter and the world of gourmet cooking itself. By creating Central Azami in his own twisted sense of self-righteousness is creating a happier world and a paradise that everyone can live happily in, as long as they submit to Central’s dogma. While of course Azami is wrong to create Central and to dictate to others about happiness (notice Azami isn’t a happy guy himself) in a sense what he is trying to accomplish comes from a good reason. If what happened to Erina’s mother is bad and the worst fate possible for his daughter, than anything is better than letting that fate befall his daughter. Even if that means in the process Azami has to become a demon to accomplish his own ends. Azami’s love for his daughter twists his understanding of what would actually make Erina happy, and that the only person responsible for his daughter’s happiness is Erina herself. Just like Joichiro who had to find his own happiness, Erina will need to find what makes her happy. It isn’t up to Azami to decide what will make others happy.